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Remains of Massacred World War II Prisoners Found in Poland

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Poland Death Valley ArtifactsCHOJNICE, POLAND—According to a Science Magazine report, archaeologist Dawid Kobiałka of the Polish Academy of Sciences and his colleagues discovered the remains of hundreds of people who were killed by the Nazis at the end of World War II in a region of northern Poland known locally as “Death Valley.” The researchers began their study by interviewing witnesses and examining historical records, including aerial photographs taken by the Allies at the end of the war. Then, the scientists conducted lidar scans from the air and ground-penetrating radar surveys of the area. Once they had pinpointed sites that might contain burial pits, the researchers used metal detectors and discovered hundreds of bullet shells of a type commonly used by the Gestapo and German police units; buttons; cuff links; a wristwatch; and a wedding ring among one ton of burned human bone in the topsoil. The dead are thought to have been some 500 prisoners killed by the Nazis in January 1945, as the Soviet Army approached. The Nazis reportedly stacked the bodies and burned them over a period of three days. Analysis of charcoal and partially burned wood suggests the pyres were fueled with imported pine. “We knew the victims were buried somewhere, but until our research no one knew where,” Kobiałka said. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Antiquity. To read about the discovery of the remains of seven nuns who were murdered by Soviet soliders near the end of World War II, go to "Around the World: Poland."

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